The City of Coralville received notification from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) of an upgrade to the City’s public fire protection classification. A survey conducted in June by the Public Protection Classification Program (PPC) of ISO reflected an improvement to Coralville’s fire insurance rating from a Class 4 to a Class 3.
ISO is the nation’s leading risk assessment firm, and its PPC program rates public fire protection on a scale of 1 to 10, with Class 1 reflecting the best possible rating and Class 10 indicating an area’s fire suppression program does not meet minimum recognition criteria. A community’s rating is based on quality indicators of the fire department (e.g. fire-fighting equipment, training protocols, and equipment maintenance), adequacy of the community’s water supply, and dispatching capabilities.
Achieving a Class 3 rating puts Coralville in a more elite class in Iowa and the nation. Coralville is one of only 27 Iowa communities with a Class 3 rating, a classification shared by the cities of Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Marion. There are no Class 1 or 2 communities in Iowa. Nationwide, Coralville is in the top five percent of all rated fire departments with a Class 3 rating or better.
Most insurers use the PPC classifications to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance, generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. Data on insurance losses shows a strong relationship between excellent fire protection – as measured by the PPC program – and low fire losses. The new rating may positively impact insurance premium rates for commercial and residential property in the City of Coralville.
ISO surveys fire departments approximately every 15 years; however, departments may be surveyed upon request when it appears that there is a possibility of a classification change. Coralville Fire Chief Dave Stannard requested ISO surveyors re-evaluate the city’s fire insurance rating due to improvements made as a result of the last survey - including the construction of the Coralville Fire Department Training Facility, training programs, staffing, and overall strengthened fire department management. Stannard also requested the ISO survey prior to the completion of the North Fire Station so that areas for improvement could be identified. The process takes approximately six to eight months.
Reflecting on Coralville’s ISO Class 3 rating, Stannard said, “ISO surveys are quite demanding – we are excited that the work we’ve done has resulted in a benefit to the community.”
Coralville’s ISO classification has continued to rise over the past 25 years, from Class 6 in 1984 to Class 4 in 2004. Coralville’s Class 3 rating will become effective December 1, 2009.